The Representation Of American Civil War in Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge Of Courage

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Abstract This study aims at exploring how Stephen Crane presents the American Civil War in his novel The Red Badge of Courage. Some questions should be raised: In what way Crane had presented the American civil war in his novel? Did he differ in his presentation from his contemporary and precedent writers? The methodology used in this dissertation was the qualitative approach which was based on tools used in the analysis; the Qualitative content analysis and psychoanalytic literary theory. The practical part is done by picking up some quotes from the novel and then analyzing them; extracting the meaning from the passage and then applying the elements of qualitative content analysis such as the adjectives used if they are positive or negative, the tone expressed, the tense of the verbs and their form, some literary devices such as personification, metaphor and simile, and point of view. Also, the psychoanalytic literary theory is applied through the analysis of the psychology of the soldiers especially the protagonist Henry Fleming. The elements found in this analysis were applied to the concepts of Sigmund Freud's theory of psychology. The results show that Crane realistically presents the war using sensory details; even the dialogues are used realistically and the slangs are from the period of the 1890s rather than the 1860s. Narrative techniques are used such as naturalism and impressionism. Crane’s novel is full of irony from the title to the last sentence of the novel. He uses mechanized imagery in his novel that reflects his industrial life. The novel reflects Sartre's philosophy of existentialism which focuses on “existence precedes essence”. As the protagonist Henry Fleming experiences the first battle, he decides to be courageous and keeps fighting in the next battle rather than running from it. So according to the novel, Crane focuses on presenting the war through the growing up of the protagonist Henry Fleming’s psychology. The notions of heroism that were presented earlier are not taken into consideration by Crane; he presents the war in an unsentimental way using an objective description.